Parallel Imports

Know the boundaries of parallel importation in New Zealand and understand your rights as an importer, rights owner or licensee.

What is parallel importation?

In New Zealand parallel importation is, for the most part, legal.

Parallel imported goods are manufactured and put into circulation in another country and then imported into New Zealand. Trade marks and copyright works are most affected by parallel importing. To lawfully parallel import goods it is essential that the trade mark is originally applied to the goods or the work is originally copied by, or with the consent or authorisation of, the trade mark or copyright owner.

Parallel importation in these circumstances is lawful in New Zealand and does not give rise to a claim of trade mark or copyright infringement. It is important to note that parallel importation is not permitted under the Designs Act, so an action for infringement may still lie if a New Zealand design registration exists for the goods in question.

How are parallel imports different to counterfeit goods?

With counterfeit goods, an identical or similar trade mark is applied to the goods or the goods are copied, without the authorisation or consent of the trade mark owner. See our anti-counterfeiting page for further discussion on counterfeit goods.

How Baldwins can help you

We provide advice to importers and potential importers of parallel imported goods, as well as to trade mark and copyright owners and licensees affected by parallel imports. If you would like to discuss an issue around parallel importation in New Zealand, please get in touch.

Meet our experts

  • Paul Johns
    Head of Dispute Resolution, Auckland

  • phone +64 9 359 7733
  • phonelink_ring+64 27 558 5866
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  • Thomas Huthwaite
    Senior Associate, Wellington

  • phone +64 4 494 9600
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